Health watchdog investigates Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust

A “damning” verdict has been handed to the health trust which runs King George Hospital, as it becomes only the second in the country to be threatened with possible prosecution for continued failings.

A newly launched full investigation will examine whether the trust is protecting patients form “unsafe care”, with the qualification of staff and its risk management systems being probed.

Colin Hough, the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) regional director for London, said a string of unannounced visits had been made, but added: “We keep finding problems.”

The investigation will involve speaking to patients, relatives and frontline staff at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT).

The CQC, an independent regulator of care provided by the NHS, put seven conditions on BHRUT in April 2010, seven of which have now been met.

But since then, “urgent demands for improvement” have been made following a string of unannounced visits to both King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital, Romford.

The CQC’s findings into both King George and Queen’s Hospital is due in the Autumn.

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BHRUT chief executive Averil Dongworth said: “The CQC recognises that some improvements have already been made, although we need to go further and sustain this.

“We welcome the CQC’s investigation and will be working closely with them.

“The findings of the investigation will be extremely helpful, highlighting any areas which they, our patients or staff feel needs further attention.”